Spring is coming back soon and so, let’s hope, sunny days! As the body synthesizes vitamin D in contact with the sun’s rays, the body can receive more vitamin D in March than it does during the winter.
Despite this, it is estimated that 80% of the French population is deficient in vitamin D, 20% of whom are deficient.
Why? Because certain factors such as age, pollution, skin pigmentation or lack of sunlight limit the body’s ability to produce vitamin D.
What are the risks of a deficiency? Why is vitamin D important? Some answers below!
The risks of vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D is essential for the proper functioning of the human body, so a deficiency is problematic. Vitamin D helps maintain optimal bone and muscle health and has a positive effect on inflammation. By attacking bacteria and viruses that damage the immune system, it also fights infections such as the flu and colds.
A vitamin D deficiency can then have serious consequences on bone metabolism and can lead to certain diseases (asthma, Alzheimer’s, depression, eczema) or cancers (colon, pancreas).
3 major benefits of vitamin D
Although vitamin D has a myriad of health benefits, here’s our top 3:
1. It makes the bones stronger
Calcium is very important for healthy bones and for increasing bone mineral density. Research has shown that vitamin D promotes the deposition of calcium in the bones, making them stronger and healthier.
In the case of vitamin D deficiency, the body begins to slow down or stop the deposition of calcium in the bones; the calcium is then released into the bloodstream. Over time, this continuous cycle of deposition and withdrawal weakens the bones and puts the body at high risk of fracture.
2. It protects against cardiovascular disease
Did you know that vitamin D has a protective effect on the heart? Recent data has shown that people with vitamin D deficiency are at increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, sudden cardiac death or heart failure.
Although the exact mechanisms remain unclear, it appears that vitamin D helps to lower blood pressure and improve blood compliance and glycemic control.
3. It reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes can lead to long-term, life-altering conditions including nerve damage, heart disease, eye damage, vision loss and kidney failure.
Recent studies suggest that vitamin D may play an important role in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, particularly in people at risk of developing the disease. Several observational studies have shown that high levels of vitamin D lead to improvements in beta cell function, insulin sensitivity and whole body inflammation.
One study calculated the risk of developing type 2 diabetes based on baseline vitamin D status and found that patients with the highest baseline levels had a 38% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Should I take vitamin D supplements?
As discussed in a previous article, vitamin D is obtained primarily through exposure of the skin to sunlight. The problem is that it’s not always easy to get enough vitamin D through this route – especially in winter when the sun barely shines!